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Will Florida expand drug laws to increase punishment?

Florida law already makes a concession for cocaine and heroin suppliers to be charged for murder if their drugs are involved in a drug overdose death. This law does not expand to drug peddlers or low-level drug dealers currently. But with a new legislative session upon us in the state of Florida, that rule may be expanded to include such lower-level individuals.

Apparently lawmakers don't just want to expand the existing law as is -- they also want to add drug dealers that distribute substances other than heroin or cocaine. Fentanyl and other opioids, which are currently a major issue in the United States, may be considered as a part of the law's expansion.

There are a couple of things to note about this story. The first is that laws change all the time. Drug laws are always changing, police procedures change and the legal structure needs to be revised from time to time. These changes may be small yet still have huge impacts. They can also be major, sweeping changes that affect many people. Given this constant change, it is imperative to know your rights and to contact an attorney if you are accused of a crime.

But in regard to this specific potential expansion of a drug dealing law that would lead to murder charges for low-level peddlers: this seems extreme. People accused of drug crimes already face extensive consequences and have their future irreparably changed to a certain degree. Adding more consequences to such charges won't necessarily make us safer. It will just add more years onto a prison sentence and prolong the pain the accused feels.

Source: Miami Herald, "Drug dealers as murderers? Proposed Florida law targets sellers fueling overdose crisis," David Ovalle, March 6, 2017

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